Two weeks ago, I ran half-marathon number five. It was my best half marathon, both in terms of my time and in terms of how I felt. Here’s why this one was different.
I’ve posted about how miserable and lonely I was this summer in the aftermath of the fire. Early in the summer, I was making an attempt to eat healthier and exercise, but I abandoned that completely as the apartment situation got more and more depressing. It’s a cruel irony that you need healthy living the most when life is hardest, which is also when it’s hardest to do it. I stopped paying attention to eating healthy and ate a lot of crap, and I couldn’t force myself to exercise. One day, when I was particularly down and it was good running weather, I tried to get up and out of the house to run. I made it a total of two blocks.
I haven’t weighed myself in a long time, but I know I gained weight. A lot of my clothes weren’t fitting me right, and when I saw pictures of myself taken in July, I burst into tears. I looked hideous, and much heavier than I should be.
So when things calmed down, I signed up for the Bay State Half Marathon, the same one I did last year. I’d come so close to breaking two hours before, and I felt like I was really capable of it now.
While this was my fifth half-marathon, the training for it felt different from any of the others. Before, I often felt like I had to force myself to get up and run. This time, I got into a good routine and was actually looking forward to my runs. I think it helped that I started my new job a few weeks into the training—having a new routine in general helped me fit in a new running routine. I started using MyFitnessPal more consistently and keeping better track of what I ate.
When I set that goal of breaking two hours, I’d thought that I would barely make it. Instead, while I was running, I looked at my watch at one point to see how I was doing and thought, “Wow…you totally have this!” I ended up finishing in 1:54:56—ten minutes faster than last year. The weather undoubtedly helped (it was nice and cool that morning), but I’m still thrilled with my time.
I’ve never really gotten the “runner’s high” that I hear people talk about, but during this training, I had way more runs where I felt great afterwards than runs where I felt lousy. I still haven’t weighed myself, so I don’t know if I actually lost weight, but I certainly feel better, and definitely more motivated to keep working out. When I first started getting into half-marathons, I blogged about how I still didn’t think of myself as “a runner.”
Well…it took a while, but I think now, maybe I do.